According to wikipedia, a fistula is “an abnormal connection between two hollow spaces such as blood vessels, intestines, or other hollow organs. Fistulas are usually caused by injury or surgeryL, but they can also result from an infection or inflammationL.”
I am writing this in haste, so there are lots of connections that I will leave for your imaginations to fill in (your own fistulas to proliferate, if you will). What I have in mind with such a visceral entitling is that the Internet itself, you could say, acts as a fistula in that it channels our devices into electrical connections with other devices networked in. What facebook has done to take this logic further—and prompt me to label it a fistula—is it has channeled many of us further into frequenting their site as a means of connecting, a fistula within the larger Internet intestines (or tubes!). However, the fistula which is usually an alternate minority pathway has become almost as large as the parent (the Internet) from which it is a deviant. The result for many of the old Internet pathways such as websites, has been their steady atrophying and alienation, with private website browsing way down, in terms of ratios at least.
The small beginning of facebook, before it had all of us migrating through it’s alternate intestines, was very enticing as an easy and practical platform to have all your friends organized in one place and share social experiences. We were bated in by an original platform that now has constantly changed itself to be more [attractive?], but also much more profitable to itself. Anyone who has been using facebook for a few years can tell you how they are always tweaking things, usually to the annoyance of the users. A parasitic fistula is an evolving thing, and this particular fistula wants to digest more and more of us, with our time (through advertisements), our money (turning us into advertisers), and other insidious ways I’m sure. It controls our rate of movement through it’s complex, assuring that it is to its own benefit. One issue that spurred this thought: the destruction of “reach”; it ends up being a particularly fitting term, reach relating to the notion of our bodily reach being reduced by our decapitated/disabled arms. We are made to socialize with the outer walls, covered with advertisements, that digest us methodically. Our mingling is reduced, as much of our surface area is taken up with unchosen, unfriendly interactions.
A last thought for your consideration: facebook has a similar historical trajectory as the United States; in the beginning both led people to believe they were joining a democracy, but over time you start to see the hierarchy become apparent.
L – As an asside, I find it interesting to note that of the four causes of fistulas, surgery and inflammation are both definitely products of the neolithic age, and a majority of the infections and injuries we face these days could arguably be linked to the stagnancy that is civilization as well. In that vein, I don’t think it would be too far reaching to imply all of civilization as fistula, but I’ll leave that for you to sort out if you wanted to, my dear reader! (thanks for reading! and shout out to Ray Dawson of GodGutsandGlory for his constantly keeping up on my posts, much appreciated!)